“We got to choose our part and I chose a milk maid” said my 7 year old Daisy.
“What do you have to do?” I asked.
“We find out next week!” she sang.
“On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me…”
We didn’t hear much more until the note came asking for wellies and jeans for her outfit.
“Need anything else?” I asked poised to dig out the sewing machine. Daisy got upset and explained she was the only girl who chose to be a milk maid and she had to wear a stupid baggy T-shirt (Daisy has a thing about clothes that don’t cling) and a horrible hat with silly plaits. She was however quite excited to be reading a funny joke about a cow pat.
Now Daisy is a very ‘girly girl’ and as we watched the kids perform their various parts as calling birds, French hens and turtle doves in their pretty costumes, I watched Daisy in her wellies and funny hat and my heart sank for her. She looked a little sad sat sandwiched between boys picking their noses and waiting for their turn as comedy milk maids.
She did really well with her joke and everyone laughed which made her smile but I couldn’t help feeling that she would have been a far better ballet dancing swan or a twirling lady.
Was I disappointed?
Didn’t I just want her to be happy?
Talking that evening, Daisy said she liked making everyone laugh but would rather have worn a nice costume and danced. I tried to quickly brush it off as if it didn’t matter.
“Oh well, never mind,” I said.
“Yeh, oh well, doesn’t matter,” Daisy said and went back to pouring glitter all over the table.
Wow, I thought, it really doesn’t matter does is it?
So… I leant more that day than Daisy. Kids need to make their own choices and if necessary mistakes. As a mother of two ‘little princesses’ I am often over keen to push them in to anything girly but I realise Daisy gained more that day making people laugh.
Kids surprise you, we shouldn’t presume we know what they want or what’s best for them. They need to make their own choices to grow as people. Just because I dreamed of being an actor and playing guitar, doesn’t mean my kids will. Only by letting them make their own choices can we really grow to know our little ones and allow them to grow to know themselves.
And Daisy? Well, she’s invested her pocket-money in 1001 jokes for kids. Terrible jokes but her choice all the same!